Government Extends Protection for Endangered Porpoises in Gulf of California
LADB Article ID: 80268
By: Carlos Navarro
The Mexican government has extended for a brief period the fishing restrictions imposed two years ago to protect the endangered vaquita porpoise in the northern areas of the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortés, and in the Colorado River Delta. The restrictions, which originally ended on March 31, were extended until the end of May while the government works on a proposal to implement a permanent ban on the use of gillnets.The fishing restrictions have failed to provide the needed protection for the vaquita because of the difficulty in monitoring and enforcing regulations. With some fishing vessels continuing to use illegal fishing devices, the vaquita population has been cut in half. According to government scientists and environmental organizations, the number of vaquitas had declined to about 30 specimens as of November 2016, compared with 60 porpoises recorded in 2014. Local fishing communities have not been entirely pleased with the restrictions, mostly because the alternatives and compensation offered by authorities were not satisfactory.
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